Page 68 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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EGYPT-GALLIPOLI-THE LANDlNG--1st KRITHIA
51
seemed as if nothing could survive as the shells tore up the ground
near the troops' destination.
"W" Beach, the 1st Battalion's objective, was some three hundred
and fifty yards in width with low cliffs on each side, perhaps one
hundred feet high, and in the centre a mound which commanded
the full extent of the beach. As the tows got nearer, a belt of wire
could be seen stretching right across the beach and the order had
been issued that the men were to lie behind this wire till the wire
cutters had made gaps for them to pass through. The bombardment,
delivered by H .M.S.
Swiftsure
and H.M.S .
Euryalus,
ceased as the
battalion approached the shore and from the steamboats came the
order to slip the tow ropes. The four naval ratings in each boat then
began to pull on the oars to take the boats in, when a heavy and
accurate fire was opened at the crew.
It
was impossible to miss
such targets at close range, and the crews were speedily put out of
action, while many soldiers were hit. "Overboard" was the order
and the men scrambled out as best they could in anything up to four
feet of water. Only two boats reached the shore, and the rest of the
men waded ashore with great difficulty, as the dead weight was much
increased by the wetting. All the rifles were soaked and amid much
confusion the men reached the line of wire under very heavy fire
enfilading it from both ends, while machine-gun fire met them in
front. The silver sand and the sea water jammed the action of the
rifles and it was impossible to return the fire. At last one or two
rifles were forced open, and a lucky shot laid low one enemy sniper
who was taking a heavy toll. The men crossed the wire anyhow,
and began to scale the cliff on the left of the beach. The battle
became for a time a regular "soldiers' battle," for the men were
hopelessly mixed; but after a time "C" Company (Captain
R. R.
Willis) on the left emerged in some kind of formation and began to
scale Hill
114,
their objective.
Meanwhile part of "D" Company (Major G. S. Adams) , which
had landed from the
Implacable,
directed by the latter's captain
(Captain Lockyer) and by the headquarter staff, had landed at the
salient rocks below Hill
114
with no great difficulty and, scaling
the cliff, drove back the Turkish outpost which had done so much
damage. The attack on the left was then able to proceed, although
the losses had been severe. On the right and centre matters were far
worse. Behind the wire lay over three hundred men, and it was not
at first realized that these were all casualties. Much time was spent
in trying to bring them on, till the reality became apparent. Thus
in the actual operation of landing, 63 out of 80 naval ratings were
killed and wounded, the brigadier was wounded, and
II
officers and
350 men of the battalion were out of action.
The attack on Hill 138 by "A" Company (Lieutenant R. Haworth)
and "B" Company (Captain H. Shaw) met with a fresh misfortune
after they had managed to reorganize and press forward. A naval
shell struck the top. of the cliff and exploded, throwing many men
back on to the beach. Haworth was wounded
in
the back, but